Purple membranes (PM) from halobacteria were hydrated to approximately 0.4 and approximately 0.2 g H(2)O/g of PM and studied by dielectric spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry between 120 and 300 K. The dielectric process, attributed to a local (beta) relaxation of the confined supercooled water, shows an Arrhenius temperature behavior at low temperatures. In the case of the most hydrated PM a small deviation from the Arrhenius behavior occurs at 190-200 K together with a pronounced endothermic process and an increased activation energy. The observed crossover is accompanied by a reduction of the interlayer spacing due to the partial loss of the intermembrane water. All these effects at approximately 200 K are consistent with a scenario where the local relaxation process merges with a nonobservable alpha-relaxation of the interlayer water, giving rise to a more liquid-like behavior of the interfacial water. For the less hydrated sample the effects are less pronounced and shift to a slightly higher temperature.